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What Is Galvanizing?

Apr. 14, 2021

What Is Galvanizing?

Hot-dip galvanizing (HDG) is the process of immersing precast steel into a kettle or barrel containing molten zinc. The process is simple in nature, which provides a clear advantage over other corrosion protection methods. When the steel is in the kettle, the iron in the steel reacts with the molten zinc to form a tightly bonded alloy coating that provides superior corrosion protection to the steel.

The information on durability, life, cost and sustainability only applies to hot-dip galvanizing (commonly referred to as batch galvanizing, general galvanizing, or after-processing galvanizing). It is important to understand that not all zinc coatings are the same; therefore, applying any information provided about hot-dip galvanizing to other zinc coatings is inaccurate and is not recommended.

To understand the hot-dip galvanizing process and its evolution, it is necessary to start from the very beginning, which can be traced back to 79 AD.

History of hot-dip galvanizing

79 AD

The record of the use of zinc in construction began, which can be considered the origin of galvanizing.


The earliest recorded history of galvanizing can be traced back to several experiments submitted to the Royal Academy of Sciences by the French chemist P.J. Malouin, which involved covering iron with molten zinc.


Luigi Galvani, who has the same name as electroplating, discovered the electrochemical process that occurs between metals when experimenting with frog legs.


Alessandro Volta further studied galvanizing, he discovered the electric potential between the two metals and created a corrosion cell.


Michael Faraday discovered the sacrificial behavior of zinc in an experiment involving zinc, salt water and nails.


French engineer Stanislaus TranquilleModeste Sorel applied for a patent for the early electroplating process.


The British galvanizing industry consumes 10,000 tons of zinc each year for the production of galvanized steel.


The first galvanizing plant in the United States opened, slightly behind the United States. At that time, people dipped steel in a zinc bath by hand.


Advances in metallurgy and furnace technology have improved process efficiency and sustainability.


Today, North America consumes more than 600,000 tons of zinc each year to produce hot-dip galvanized steel, of which 200,000 tons are used for post-processing (batch) processes and 400,000 tons are used for continuous galvanizing processes. Galvanizing is used in almost all major steel applications and industries. Utilities, chemical processing, pulp and paper, automobiles, and transportation have historically used galvanizing extensively to control corrosion. They continue to do so today. Hot-dip galvanizing has a proven and growing history of success in countless applications worldwide.

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